There are a bewildering number of treatment options for people living with chronic pain and fatigue. That’s both good news, and bad.
Use Several Treatments of Different Types Every Day
One thing research has shown consistently is that people with chronic pain and fatigue seem to do best when they use multiple forms of treatment. Because there are so many options, it’s easier to begin looking at them by grouping them into categories like these:
- Drugs and Supplements
Some treatments will overlap categories. For example, deep breathing exercises have effects on the physical, lifestyle and psychological aspects of chronic pain. A well-rounded treatment regimen will include treatments from each category and, ideally, some treatments that overlap categories. As time goes on, many of these treatments will become ongoing practices of self-care or habits. This is exactly what you want to happen; you want to program yourself for good health.
Adjust Your Expectations: Start Low, Go Slow
It takes at least 6 weeks to form a new habit. Many medications take at least 6 weeks to establish an effect. The same is true for most forms of treatment. It may take a period of up to 3 months of treatment before you see changes in your fibromyalgia symptoms. It may take many more months or even several years of treatment before you feel like your “old self”. Note the word “may”. Some people will experience change more rapidly, others more slowly. Some will experience setbacks with treatments before benefiting from them. Keep an open mind, don’t give up too quickly, and be willing to experiment. You may need to adjust dose amounts, and frequencies, as well duration of treatment. This is normal for people with fibromyalgia and is not necessarily indicative of treatment failure.
When your pain level is high and you are feeling exhausted, the idea of doing anything can seem overwhelming. This is where simple interventions that build effectiveness over time become crucial because they exploit the power of one degree of change.
Recall how compounding interest builds up over time. Treatment effects are like this too. One degree of change, like one percent of interest, can build into something very impressive give some time.
This is why seemingly innocuous changes like doing deep breathing exercises and drinking enough water can make significant impacts on your pain and fatigue levels respectively, and why these interventions are especially well-suited to those whose symptoms are severe – you’re not going to stop breathing or ignore your thirst no matter how terrible you feel. And as these interventions become habits, it will make it easier for you to take on some additional treatments, thereby adding to the total combined impact on your symptoms.
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